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We fools counted their life madness, and their end without honour. 
Behold, they are numbered among the children of God, and their 
lot is among the Saints. WISDOM, v. 4-5. 

THERE is a day to come which will reverse the con- 
fident judgments of men. In that day 'the first shall 
be last and the last first.' The wise in this world will 
be fools, and the fools in this world wise. The mad 
in this world will be the heirs of a better. It is no 
wonder to us that, day after day, base, craven, hireling 
names should be showered upon the noble-hearted men 
who have joyfully laid down their lives for the Vicar 
of Jesus Christ. I should break the peace of this hour 
if I were to repeat the heartless and bitter railings 
which have been pelted at them. They would taint 
the fragrance of this sanctuary. I will, therefore, 
examine the cause for which they fell; and I will 
appeal from their nameless accusers to a tribunal 
which is seldom unjust to the broad, calm, common 
sense of Englishmen, and to the nobler and higher 
instincts of Christians. 

The dead for whose repose we offer the Holy Sacri- 
fice to-day were slain in battle for the defence of 
the sacred person of the Vicar of Jesus Christ, of his 

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lawful authority over the city which, under the pro- 
vidence of God, he and his predecessors have held, by 
martyrdom, suffering, and sovereignty, for 1,800 years ; 
for the liberty of his person and office as Head of the 
Universal Church, for his supreme guardianship of the 
faith and law of Jesus Christ, in which all Christendom 
has its vital interest ; and finally, for the rights and 
spiritual liberties of the whole Catholic world. 

If it be madness or baseness to die for such a cause, 
tell me what cause is holy, what cause is glorious? If 
the world call such men hirelings, the whole Christian 
world will honour them as martyrs ; and we will bide 
the sentence of the Judge from Whom is no appeal. 

There was a time when the whole of Western 
Christendom held it to be noble and glorious to volun- 
teer in arms to defend the Holy Sepulchre from the 
powers of Mahometanism. Why is it not in like 
manner noble and glorious to defend the Vicar of 
Jesus Christ, the liberty, the purity of the Church 
itself from an anti-Christian revolution ? If it was an 
act of Christian chivalry to defend the frontiers of 
Christendom, why is it not both Christian and chival- 
rous to defend its head and centre? If it was a noble 
courage to fight and to fall for the Christian liberty 
and purity of souls and of homes threatened by 
Mahometanism, how is it ignoble and hireling to de- 
fend the Christian Church at the centre of its liberty, 
purity, and life, against the violence of men who have 
blasphemously trumpeted their hatred of Christianity, 
and stained the cities of Italy with impurity and blood ? 
If a war for justice be sacred, and if all Christians may 
lawfully and with dignity help their brethren of every 

nation, and die in such a cause, how can a Christian 
hand write names of infamy upon them? I appeal 
from such wresting of judgment to the Christian con- 
science arid Christian justice of Englishmen. I say, of 
Englishmen, because the hearts and consciences of 
Irishmen are already wounded and burning at this 
violation of every instinct of their faith. 

But perhaps we shall be told that Rome is the 
capital of Italy. 

We deny it. Rome is not the capital of Italy. It 
is the capital of Christendom. God has so made it, 
and man cannot unmake it. All Christian nations 
have a right in it. Italy has its share in Rome as 
France has, and all other Catholic people ; and neither 
less nor more. But Rome is in Italy, and 'Italians 
speak one tongue. Geography and language create 
no rights. If it were so, Canada would justly be an- 
nexed to the United States. North America, 4 one 
and united/ would not be c made ' till it had incorpo- 
rated Canada in its national unity of language and 
geography. Spain may say the same of Gibraltar, 
Italy of Malta, and the races of India in their several 
limits of territory and language. To this portentous 
theory of nationalism we answer, that it is a denial 
of all true national and international justice, the 
source of schism in religion, and of revolution in 
politics. Until the schism of the sixteenth century 
shattered the unity of Christian Europe, this theory 
of confusion was never known. A higher unity and a 
higher law bound together the nations of the Chris- 
tian world, and consecrated the authority of States, 
while it protected the liberties and rights of the 

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people. As Christians, and as Catholics, we refuse 
to break up the unity of Christendom for the unity of 
Italy, and to sacrifice the Christian and supernatural 
order of the world to the ' national aspirations ' of 
any people. 

For the last thirty years the doctrine of nationali- 
ties and non-intervention has been preached with a 
subtlety and a confidence which has seduced many 
and stunned more. Men have been afraid of raising 
their heads against the claim of a nation's right to 
make revolutions. The doctrine which the Protes- 
tant Reformation used as a wedge to split off nations 
from the unity of the Church has been since applied 
as the lever to overturn thrones, and to destroy in- 
ternational rights. It is now wielded to overturn the 
Holy See. We are told that the highest and ultimate 
unity on earth is the unity of a nation ; that each 
nation may isolate itself both in religion and politics 
at will; and that non-intervention is a reciprocal and 
universal duty of all nations to each other. Against 
this system of national supremacy, anti-Christian and 
immoral, we protest in the name of Christendom. 
There is a unity higher than the unity of any nation, 
in which the welfare of all nations is bound up : the 
unity of the Christian world. The maintenance of 
this unity, in its head and centre, in its order, and 
laws of national justice and co-operation, is the highest 
interest of all nations, and the guarantee of their re- 
ciprocal duties and rights. England isolated itself 
from the Christian world in religion three hundred 
years ago, and its present attitude of political isolation 
is the inevitable result, llussia in like manner is cut 

off from Europe by its schism, and its schism dictates 
its policy. Prussia is still half united to the Catholic 
world. The other nations of Europe are, for the 
most part, or altogether, members of the Catholic 
unity. It is not possible for any one of them to 
claim the Russian or English exemption from national 
responsibility to a higher unity, without renouncing 
their Catholic character. This, in an evil hour, Italy 
has been lured, taunted, tempted to do. And in an 
evil hour it has listened. It has claimed the capital 
of Christendom by a vote of its Parliament as the 
capital of Italy. But the Catholic world will not 
submit to this usurpation : and France, not as France, 
but as the mandatory of the Catholic Powers, has 
defeated, and will defeat, the usurpation, and protect 
the centre of Catholic unity and the Head of the 
Catholic world. This is our answer. The unity of 
Christendom will riot make way for the unity of 

It was for this cause these brave men fell. 

And yet it was not against the Monarchy of Italy 
they fought. They were face to face with an anti- 
Christian horde, which the King of Italy disowned. 
Some ten thousand men of all parts of Italy, and of 
many other countries, armed and organised, without 
authority of public law, and in direct violation of the 
same, invaded the States of the Church. They made 
a private war in the name of the Eed Revolution. 
This horde was led by the man who in 1848 stained 
Rome with innocent blood, and the other day de- 
manded the overthrow of the Christian religion as 
essential to the welfare of the world. They were on 

their way to Rome to dethrone, not the Pontiff only, 
but Jesus Christ. God has not permitted the outrage 
to be perpetrated. While we were praying, day by 
day, in the Holy Mass, and before the most Holy Sacra- 
ment ; while in Rome households were saying at the first 
hour of night the Litany of our Blessed Mother, with 
an invocation of St. Peter and St. Paul for the protec- 
tion of the City; the head of the revolution, with its 
leader in all his prestige, was crushed and swept off 
the Patrimony of the Church by a blow so sudden 
and so complete that not a vestige, except the dead, 
wounded, and arms of the invaders remained on the 
field. Men will read this event differently. Some 
will see in it no more than a battle and a victory. 
We see in it also an answer to prayer, and an act of 
the power of God. It has once more saved the head 
and centre of Christianity from outrage and sacri- 
lege ; and they who gave their lives in the defence of 
Christianity may be numbered with the martyrs. 
But over that field of slaughter and of flight there 
hangs a gloorn as of a funeral pall. The unhappy 
men who fell with weapons in their hands raised 
against the Yicar of Jesus Christ were regenerate in 
baptism, and once illuminated with faith, and mem- 
bers of the Holy Catholic Church. In boyhood they 
had made their first confession and first communion 
as you did. But some terrible illusion of Satan, and 
the snares of secret societies, blinded and entangled 
them. I would fain say, c Father, forgive them, they 
know not what they do!' But how could they be 
ignorant of their sin? There is mourning for them 
in many homes, and we mourn over their misery ; 


but our tongues are tied, and our thoughts suspended. 
Our hearts can only ascend in secret to the infinite 
perfection of the Divine mercy. 

I have said that those for whom we pray did not 
fall before the Italian Monarchy. But there are 
depths in these events which we cannot fathom. 
The armies of the King of Italy did not disarm or 
hinder the invaders. They were bound to do it, but 
did it not. They entered the Koman State in the rear 
of the revolution, and stood awaiting its success. I 
know not how to interpret this conduct : but I know 
how it would have been interpreted in England if the 
armies of the United States had not repressed the 
armed bands which a year ago, from their frontier, 
threatened Canada; still more, if they had advanced 
in the rear of the marauders to hold for the American 
Union what might be successfully seized by force. 
Such a course would not be ignoble because Great 
Britain is strong, nor is it noble because the Pope is 
weak. Neither are the ' national aspirations ' of Italy 
for Rome more legitimate than the national aspirations 
of the Union for Quebec. Italy has no more claim on 
Rome than on Dresden or Paris. Rome is protected 
by as sacred a right of sovereignty against the usur- 
pation and ambition of Italy as Vienna or Madrid. 
Sovereigns do not lose their rights because they are in 
the neighbourhood of stronger powers. If proximity 
and geography and the unity of language constitute a 
right for the greater powers to absorb the weaker, 
then Brussels may be lawfully annexed by France, 
and Amsterdam by Germany. We have loudly aided 
and encouraged Italy in this usurping policy. We 


have lavished upon it ' the moral support ' of leading 
articles, and we shall reap the fruit of our labours. 

It is a strange simplicity which pretends to wonder 
why France should ever have made a Convention 
when it withdrew its protection from the Holy See ; 
and why it should have surrounded it with 4 a 
moral cordon,' reserving to itself the right of in- 

It did so because the Holy See is to France and to 
the Catholic world a centre in which they have su- 
preme and vital rights ; and it placed the security of 
the Holy See within the same defence which protects 
our persons and properties from burglars and mur- 
derers: the justice and conscience of Christian men, 
the public law of Christendom, backed by a supreme 
power which ' bears not the sword in vain.' 

I have no doubt that they who counsel to Italy 
moderation ' for the present,' and hold out the hope 
of Rome in reversion when Pius IX. goes to his rest, 
sincerely believe themselves to be wise and equitable 
men. We*are told also that the signs of the times are 
enough to show that Pius IX. is the last Pontiff who 
will hold a temporal sceptre. Some" men will read 
even Holy Scripture backwards. They can also 
reverse the signs of the times. Those signs rather 
indicate that so long as there is a Christian world so 
long the Pontiff will be Sovereign. If the world 
should apostatise from Christianity, it then may be 
that God would scourge it by the fulfilment of its 
heart's desire. 

But it is well for them to know that the Catholic 
world, neither now nor hereafter neither at the 


decease of Pius IX., nor yet at any time will yield 
one shadow of the inalienable right "of the Sovereign 

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Pontiffs to the capital of Christendom ; nor will it 
for a moment suffer the denial of its own supreme 
right and duty to intervene for the protection of the 
Holy See. The moral cordon of justice and order 
will be always drawn around it ; . and the right of 
execution will never depart from the Catholic world. 
In the days of Pius IX, it is France alone which 
has executed the will of Christendom ; in the days 
of his successor it may be a league of Catholic 
Powers, or the force of two hundred millions con- 
centrated and brought to bear by some future or- 
ganisation which shall give expression and effect to 
their will. 

For twenty years the an ti- Christian seditions of all 
the world have aimed at the overthrow of Rome, at 
the destruction of the Temporal Power first, of the 
Spiritual Power afterwards. They hate the Temporal 
Power much, but they hate the Spiritual Power more. 
They think that if it were possible to destroy the 
Temporal Power, the Pontiffs would be either per- 
secuted or subject. A Pope subject to a Royal 
Supremacy would reduce the Spiritual Supremacy to 
absurdity; and derision would be a keener and more 
deadly weapon against Christianity than persecution. 
For this end, therefore, all the spirits of an ti- Christian 
revolution have united against Rome. They have 
poisoned the public opinion of Europe against it by 
lying, or by truths perverted, which are the worst of 
lies. They have misled and influenced Governments, 
stirred up popular bigotry, painted the Government 


of Rome in the darkest and falsest colours, organised 
in secret a propaganda of sedition to disgust, alienate, 
and goad on the subjects of the Holy See to discontent 
and to rebellion. Finally, when the people of Rome 
would not rebel, nor accept them as deliverers, nor 
take the baits of sedition, the revolutionary hordes of 
all countries entered the Roman State in arms. It 
was at once proclaimed as the rising and insurrection 
of the Roman State. Foreign invasion played the 
part of domestic insurrection. Every act to seduce 
or to compel the peaceful population to rise has been 
used. Provisional Governments, revolutionary com- 
mittees, petitions signed by imaginary thousands, 
plebiscites, proclamations, conspiracies in Rome, 
shells thrown among the loyal inhabitants, gun- 
powder plots, mines under the walls all has been 
tried, but all in vain. In the end, moved by a just 
indignation, delayed, through Christian endurance, 
only too long, the soldiers and protectors of the Holy 
See crushed and scattered the lawless bands of the 
revolution. It was a just and noble act for the Ca- 
tholics of all countries to sweep the seditions, con- 
spiracies, and armed outrages of foreign invaders* out 
of the Patrimony of the Church. If the unbelievers 
of other countries, banded in secret societies, have a 
right to plot the overthrow of the Sovereign Pontiff, 
the faithful of other nations have likewise a just and 
perfect right, in open and lawful array, to defend his 

* A private letter from one who is in attendance on the prisoners in 
Rome states that there are ten Englishmen among them. The foreign 
correspondent of one of our newspapers stated that four Spaniards 
fought under Garibaldi in the uniform of General Prim's army. 


person and his throne. If the revolution invade his 
State, the Catholic world has a right to turn it out. 
Foreign aggressors may justly be destroyed by foreign 
troops. And yet no Catholic power is foreign in Koine. 
Every Catholic has a right in the Holy See, and in 
the city where God has placed it. The theory of 
non-intervention has no application in this case. 
Non-intervention may be a policy of the natural 
order; but it must be confined to the sphere of poli- 
tics, and to the mutual respect of civil Governments. 
When applied to Rome, it is a mere deceit, in order to 
mask the question. No Catholic Power can proclaim 
the policy of non-intervention when the Vicar of 
Christ and the Head of the Catholic Church is threat- 
ened, To do so would be to renounce the Catholic 
character and name. Protestant or schismatical Go- 
vernments may, perhaps, proclaim non-intervention as 
their policy, because they have forfeited their rights 
in Rome. They may also in their theories divide the 
Temporal from the Spiritual Power of the Pontiffs. 
B ut all Catholics know these things to be providentially 
united for the free and peaceful exercise of the mission 
of the Church among the nations of the world. The 
intervention of the French people to defend the person 
and authority of Pius IX. against external violence, 
from whatsoever nation, race, or Government it may 
come, would be, by all the prescriptions of Christian 
international law, an honourable, just, and noble act. 
How much more, when France has intervened against 
a lawless and immoral band of invaders, rebels to 
their own Government, and disturbers of the peace of 
the Christian world ! By this act, which is only one 


more in the traditional office of France in protecting 
the Centre and Head of Christendom, she has placed 
herself in the lead of the Christian order, the Christian 
justice, the Christian chivalry of the world. May God 
maintain her firm and inflexible in this noblest mis- 
sion upon earth ! The Catholic world will confirm 
her acts by the sympathy and assent of its heart and 
conscience. France has thereby invoked upon her- 
self the enmity, scorn, and railing of an ti- Catholic 
and an ti- Christian factions. But she has won to 
herself the confidence and the sympathy of every man 
among the two hundred millions in all lands, who 
refuse to offer up the supernatural unity, order, and 
purity of the Christian world as a homage to the 
tyranny of modern Nationalism, the deification of 
the civil power, the anti- Christian hatred against the 
Church of God. Let France stand firm, and she may 
stay the plague which is devouring Christian Europe. 
The prayers of all good men will ascend for her. 
These things bring to my mind others of a sadder 
cast, and nearer to ourselves. But I forbear to speak 
of my own country. 

There are, however, happier thoughts, to which I 
gladly turn. 

The late events have detected and exposed with 
a terrible but just retribution the hollo wness, the im- 
posture, the falsehood, the vainglory, the impotence 
of the Revolution. Grandiloquence, mystery, pre- 
tended ubiquity, for a long time terrified or distracted 
the friends of order. But the veil is rent, and the 
idol is broken. On the 1st of November the ring- 
leader of this godless anarchy proclaimed to the world 


from Monte Rotondo : ' I here, alone a Roman Gene- 
ral, with full powers from the only lawful Government 
that is, of the Roman Republic, and elected by 
universal suffrage have the right to maintain myself 
in arms on this territory of my jurisdiction.' * Before 
the moon was up on the night of the 3rd, he and 
his hordes were swept away, not by the soldiers of 
Christendom, nor by the armies of France, but by the 
just judgment of God, Whom, in the Vicar of His 
Incarnate Son, he had outraged and defied. 

Thus, then, is one vast scandal and danger swept out 
of Italy. Year by year there have been arising in Italy 
the harbingers of a better day. It has suffered much, 
and the shadow of a greater suffering which may yet 
come is cast before upon it. But there is yet time, 
and there is yet hope. Italy is both Christian arid 
Catholic. Infidelity and Revolution have tormented 
and tainted Italy, but Italy is neither revolutionary 
nor infidel. Factions have risen, from time to time, 
to the surface; and the traditional mind and will of 
Italy is for a while confused and paralysed. But it is 
evidently rising again in vigour and control ; and if 
only wise and Christian counsels prevail, the Christian 
mind of Italy will be once more in the ascendant. 
Then, and only then, can the reconciliation of Italy 
and Rome be accomplished. No worse enemy ever 
came between them than the Infidel Revolution. 
When Italy returns upon the path of its old Catholic 
glories, the heart of the Catholic world will return to 
it. We love and venerate it as the soil on which the 
greatest glories of the Catholic Church are inscribed, 

* Unita Cattolica, Nov. 7, 1867. 


and the Head of the Christian world is divinely placed. 
Apart from these prerogatives Italy has no claim upon 
our goodwill beyond other nations; against these 
supreme laws of Providence Italy has no rights. 
We pray that all temporal prosperity may be upon 
her, but on condition of her fidelity to the order and 
unity of the Christian world. 

There remains but one more thought; an image 
which rises in our minds high above all in calmness, 
dignity, and grandeur the Vicar of Jesus Christ, im- 
movable in confidence, inflexible in justice, the Father 
of his people. Against him can be found no accusa- 
tion. Many have borne witness against him, but their 
testimonies do not agree together. No man can con- 
vict him of injustice, of cruelty, of oppression, of 
even lawful severity. He has been conspired against 
and betrayed; but he has pardoned the conspirators 
and betrayers, to be conspired against and betrayed 
again. He has taken no man's goods, not so much as a 
shoe's latchet. He has never harassed the poor of his 
people, nor driven them from the humble homes of 
their fathers, nor wounded their conscience in that 
which is dearest to a Catholic people. The line of 
Pontiffs stands alone for justice and mercy in the 
history and the assembly of kings. One accusation 
against him can alone be proved. He is a Priest of 
Jesus Christ. Some men are to be found who think 
this enough to justify his dethronement. The Christian 
world is not yet of their opinion. Neither were these 
noble hearts who gave their life-blood, as millions 
in all nations are likewise willing at this hour to do, 
in order to forbid this great sacrilege. In that little 


band were men of noble blood, of time-honoured 
memory, of high culture, fighting side by side with 
simple, hard-handed, broad-hearted peasants, who, full 
of devotion, left their hamlets and their homes to 
defend the Vicar of our Lord, and with striplings of 
seventeen, eighteen, and nineteen years of age, mature 
in faith, and the manhood of Christian chivalry. These 
were the men who, forsaking home and all that life 
holds best and dearest, went to bear arms as private 
soldiers, without hire and without hope, except that 
of defending the person and authority of the Vicar of 
Christ, and of shedding their blood, if need be, in the 
justest warfare and for the holiest cause. God has 
accepted this offering only from a few ; but there will 
be fathers, mothers, sisters, wives, who will mourn 
over this bier. You will pray for the dead, though the 
sanctity of their cause almost forbids it, that they may 
enter into the joy of those who, face to face, see Him 
for whom they died. And we may trust that their 
places here will be filled up tenfold a hundredfold 
that the manhood and chivalry of Catholics in all 
nations will spring forward with a new energy of 
devotion and close around the person of Pius IX. and 
of those who shall come after him, as an impenetrable 
wall of living strength, against which, if revolutionary 
violence or ambitious nationalism shall hereafter dash 
itself again, it may be for ever broken. 

This outrage and its chastisement warn all nations 
of the Christian and civilised world to provide for their 
own safety. It is but one more of the outbursts of 
anti- Christian and anti-social revolution which have in 
time past struck at the hea.d and centre of Christen- 

dom. It will soon renew its assault. It has been 
utterly and bitterly foiled, but we do not deceive 
ourselves with the hope that it is crushed or extinct. 
It will return again. Its hordes are driven out of 
view, but they lie under the horizon. They will re- 
form, their array, and return hereafter. We have need, 
therefore, to prepare more solidly and resolutely than 

Three things, we may trust, will come of this 
offence against the Christian order of nations, which 
has all but plunged Europe into war. 

First : That France declare to all comers, and to 
all who may affect to doubt it, that the traditional 
mission of a thousand years as the Protector of the 
Holy See will not be relaxed ; that it will execute 
it hereafter, as it has now, with inflexible decision ; 
that in all diplomatic calculations this must be 
taken into account; that, while others talk, France 
will do. 

Secondly : That all European nations take security 
against the renewal of these dangers to both their ex- 
ternal and internal peace. The Catholic nations have 
a vital and all-pervading interest in the safety and 
independence of the Head of their Religion. The 
nations not Catholic have among them so many mil- 
lions of Catholic brethren and fellow-subjects that 
their own internal welfare, as well as their external 
peace, is perpetually threatened by these outrages 
and scandals. It is the highest interest of all to 
protect, by international law and reciprocal engage- 
ments, the neutrality and exemption of Rome from all 
political conspiracies and conflicts, and to secure the 


independence and dignity of the Head of the Catholic 

Lastly: The example of this noble blood from 
Rome, from France, from Switzerland, from Belgium, 
from Holland, from Ireland, from England, and from 
other lands, which has been generously shed, calls with 
the voice of a trumpet upon the youth of all Catholic 
people to form a circle around the Vicar of Jesus 
Christ. Let the world count their Christian chivalry 
to be madness, and their end to be without honour. 
There is One reigning in the realms of light above 
this dark world Who will accept their reproach, and, 
if so be, their life-blood, as an offering to Himself.